Author Archives: Catharine Cody

Happy Birthday, Mr. Internet!

Posted by Catharine Cody in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

internet-birthdayWhile the world took some time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web this week, I spent a few minutes speaking with some of Peppercomm’s finest digital minds: Charlie SouthwellSam FordJeff Simpson and Richard Ouyang. My goal: to reflect on the past and look to the future…

Be sure to check out their thoughts on The Innovation Mill!

Does Losing = Winning?

Posted by Catharine Cody in brand | Marketing | wellness - (0 Comments)

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As a recent convert to the whole “fitness thing” (aka working out, watching what I eat and how many calories I burn,) I can’t help but comment on the Biggest Loser controversy that’s currently blowing up the Twittersphere.  In case you don’t know, this season’s show featured Rachel Frederickson’s drastic weight loss of over 150 pounds! That’s 60% of her starting body weight!!!

I know it’s unhealthy to be overweight, but it’s JUST as unhealthy to drop such an extraordinary amount of weight in a short period of time.  Not only does it leave one open to injury, but can also lead to health problems including immune system suppression and bad skin, hair and nails and in some cases even an irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps and loss of bone mass.

People, rightly so, are absolutely outraged that Rachel lost so much weight in a short period of time.  But, no one ever mentions that the entire purpose of The Biggest Loser is to, that’s right folks, lose weight.  Instead of chastising Ms. Frederickson for simply following her trainer’s routine, we should be looking into the entire program.

It’s unhealthy to force overweight individuals to go from zero to 60 and expect them to drop serious amounts of weight in a three month period (which is the amount of time allotted to contestants on the hit NBC show.)

Equally harmful to the show’s brand is the fact that the face of the show, Jillian Michaels, claimed she had nothing to do with the extreme weight loss.  Um, hello?  You are the freakin’ host of the show! And you’re telling me that you had nothing to do with this transformation?  I find that a little bit hard to believe.  And, if it IS true, perhaps you should focus more time on your contestants and less time on your own personal brand.

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Posted by Catharine Cody in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

climbingWhat does mountain climbing have to do with leadership skills? Catharine discusses in her latest Innovation Mill Post:

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

BrosuranceIn an effort to encourage Millenials to sign up for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado launched a series of ads as part of a campaign entitled “Got Insurance?”

The series of ads feature young adults (18-26) in “typical” situations that are intended to be fresh and speak to us on our own level.  Most of the ads, nicknamed “brosurance,” AKA insurance for bros, are offensive, and some might say, stupid.  One of the worst shows a young woman holding a package of birth control pills with a guy standing next to her.  The caption reads, “Let’s get physical.  OMG he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control.  My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.”

I understand that this ad is supposed to target the “modern woman” who is in control of her life and makes her own decisions.  This ad, however, just makes the girl look, well, not smart.  It’s fine to use birth control, and it’s fine to talk about sex openly.  What’s not OK is the fact that the girl in the ad seems to be saying that she only takes birth control so she can have sex and in no way indicates that she is practicing safe sex.

When targeting a specific age group, it’s important to understand said age group. What people do in their private lives should stay there. This approach most definitely didn’t do it for me.  It is critical for brands and government organizations to listen first, and begin to communicate after gaining an understanding of how and where their target wants to be communicated with. And yes, I said with, not to.

Red Badge of Courage

Posted by Catharine Cody in brand | Marketing | Millennials - (3 Comments)

Hello FloNo matter what names we give menstruation, Aunt Flo, Time of the Month, Crimson Wave, The Rag, Period, it still sucks and tends to make others (ahem, men) uncomfortable.  So, when I saw “The Camp Gyno” viral video promoting the Hello Flo Starter Kit, I couldn’t help but laugh at the boldness of the campaign.  Not only does this video remove all stigmas attached to menstruation, but it makes it look cool and desirable for young girls!

The video shows a young, unpopular girl getting her period at camp for the first time- and her subsequent rise up the social ranks as she explains the monthly visits to her clueless peers.  She shows them the ins and outs of menstruation, provides tampons and gives tough love to girls moaning about cramps.  At the end of the video, she is put out of business by the Hello Flo Starter Kit that prepares young girls for their first period.  Each kit includes:

  • A handful of light and regular Tampax Pearl tampons
  • Enough Always pads and liners to get her through her first cycle
  • Get Ready Guide for Parents
  • Get Ready Guide for Girls
  • A cute canvas pouch for taking supplies on the go
  • A Do-it-yourself Feby Kit
  • Surprise Gifts and Goodies

Kotex definitely got the ball rolling on the whole “embrace your body” trend two years ago after making fun of previous ad campaigns.  While the new approach was definitely interesting, I didn’t switch brands. I appreciated the concept, but it just didn’t hit home for me.

The creators of the starter kit and subsequent viral video, however, are geniuses. If ever an age bracket were susceptible to merchandise, tweens are it! Looking back, I know that I would have BEGGED my mom for this kit.  If not for the candy, then I would’ve definitely wanted it for the simple reason of receiving a package in the mail. Hell, if this were marketed for 20-somethings I’d buy it.  Why? Because I absolutely love the premise and am very curious to see what the “surprise gifts and goodies” mentioned above might entail. So, the next time you are marketing a product geared towards a “don’t ask, don’t tell” problem, try to make it funny like the Hello Flo Starter Kit folks did!

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Most 20 somethings are addicted to technology.  When commuting on any subway or train, nine times out of ten you’ll see millennials glued to their e-readers, iPads or iPhones.  Not me.  Find out what differentiates me from my peers by checking out my blog, “FYI to My Fellow Millennials: Print is cool,” on Repmanblog.com.

An UBER Experience

Posted by Catharine Cody in technology - (0 Comments)

 

Guest Blog by Kaitlin Miller

 

uberYesterday, I attended the 2nd annual NY Tech Day, the world’s largest startup event. The event is comprised of entrepreneurs exhibiting their startups to thousands of consumers, investors, first adopters, job-seekers, major companies, press and media. The booth activations for most all of the companies had very minimal company signage, no giveaways (other than food and candy) and in order to comprehend the company you had to talk to the founders.

While I was not impressed by most and wondered who would be around next year, one company stood out above the rest.  UBER, who market’s themself as Everyone’s Private Driver, had brand ambassadors who knew the company, signage describing the company and – best of all – they were giving away $20 gift cards towards your first UBER ride.

Although I had heard of UBER before NY Teach Day, after seeing them yesterday I actually decided to use the service for the first time last night. Maybe it was because I had my $20 gift card, but I am convinced I used them because I now trusted UBER and actually believed I was getting a private/profession driver to take to dinner (which I did).

The UBER app shows you the closet available driver (typically between 5-9 minutes from your pick-up location). You set pick up location and in a pre-set amount of time a black car will show up and take you to your destination.  Not only can you track your driver’s location, but you will even get a text when you driver is outside so you do not have to stand on the side of the street.

Using UBER was much faster and way more convenient than a cab and the driver I had was super professional. Although you do pay a premium to use UBER’s service (it cost me $18 to go from Herald Square to the Ainsworth on Park) when there are no yellow taxis in site it is very useful.

 

Reconnect? I’d Rather Not

Posted by Catharine Cody in brand | Marketing | Millennials - (0 Comments)

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After coming home from work yesterday, I did what I do every night: check my Facebook newsfeed to see what all my “friends” were up to.  Among the normal status updates about upcoming shows, ridiculous work hours, and the plethora of complaints my generation makes, something very interesting caught my eye: a link to a new Internet Explorer ad on YouTube.  The ad’s screen shot had the game “Hungry Hungry Hippos” along with the caption: “You Grew up.  So Did We.”  I couldn’t resist.

Before explaining this ad, I think it’s very important to mention that I absolutely abhor Internet Explorer.  It freezes inexplicably, messes with website layouts and is generally less reliable than my browser of choice, Google Chrome.  Internet Explorer is to browsers as New Jersey Transit is to mass transportation.  It’ll kind of work, eventually.

So, you can imagine my surprise when Internet Explorer decided to connect with me, personally, by helping me remember my childhood.  In their new ad, IE reminded us that they were around for generation Y’s most iconic trends: yo-yos, floppy discs, Oregon Trail, Lunchables, fanny packs, wallet chains and tomogatchis.  Besides reminding me of my childhood in the early 90s, this ad was trying to tell people my age that IE grew up with us.  As we learned new things, so did they.  And, now they want us to come back.

The thing is, I really don’t care that Internet Explorer remembers the days when boys sported bowl cuts and girls cared for electronic pets.  Those days are long gone, and remembering them does nothing.  Sure, those days were simpler because we didn’t have deadlines or relationship drama- but that’s because we were young.

I love this ad.  It’s cool to see how far pop culture has come in the past twenty years.  But, why did it take IE this long to realize they needed to change their reputation?  This ad is too little too late.  Yes, yo-yos WERE amazing, but that doesn’t make me switch browsers from Google Chrome to Internet Explorer.

 

super-bowl-XLVII-picAs a 24-year-old single girl living in Hoboken, I totally understand the whole Super Bowl phenomenon from both a social and marketing perspective.  Friends get together to eat ridiculously unhealthy food and drink copious amounts of alcohol while advertisers spend the bulk of their yearly budgets on 30 second commercials- all under the pretense of watching a football game.

What I don’t get is WHY some girls pretend to understand and like this sport.  To me, it’s nothing but a brutally boring and time consuming activity that I’d rather not waste my time on.  The ONLY reason I’d even consider watching a game is to A) socialize with friends and B) mock the new ridiculously expensive ads.

My problem is that the vast majority of these ads really do appeal to me.  I love that someone’s hunger makes them complain like Betty White.  I like watching Britney Spears sing in a gladiator’s arena for Pepsi.  But, what does football have to do with that?  I can watch these commercials on YouTube without suffering through the endless game!

So, I’m forced to ask the question: Do we really need the Super Bowl, or any other football games for that matter, to be on in order to feel it’s acceptable to drink all day and eat crappy food?  Not this year!

This year, I’ve decided to stage a Super Bowl protest.  Instead of hanging out with friends and pretending that I enjoy watching jacked-up men run around for no apparent reason, I’ve decided to dedicate my day to reading and working out.  It’s not that I’m anti-social, I just hate PRETENDING that I’m enjoying myself when I’m not.  If I’d rather be reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in bed with a nice fresh beet kale salad than eating buffalo wings and drinking cheap beer, isn’t that my prerogative?

In years past, my friends have called me a loser and a homebody for not wanting to participate in such activities.  But, at the ripe old age of 24, I’ve decided that I no longer care what people think of my social behavior.  If I want to stay in bed on a Friday night and catch up on past episodes of Downton Abbey and Dance Moms, I’m going to do that.

So, to all you other fellow football-haters, what do you plan to do this Super Bowl Sunday?  Don’t succumb to peer pressure!  Try picking up an old classic (or a guilty pleasure read, if that’s more up your alley) and dedicate the day to engaging your mind rather than your stomach.